Reuters

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Japanese Pension Funds Dive Into Stocks To "Increase Risk-Taking"





"The GPIF in October slashed its targeted holdings of low-yielding government bonds and doubled its target for stocks, as part of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's plan to boost the economy and promote risk-taking," Bloomberg notes, marking a shift into risk assets by the country's pension funds. 

 
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Amid "US Coup", Venezuela Takes Another $5 Billion Loan From China





The people of Venezuela can rejoice... not so fast. Amid paranoid-sounding (though not unlikely) rantings about US-created coups (and blaming 'economic' war for his nation's Socialist utopia hyperinflation), it appears President Maduro just got another life-line (or more rope to hang himself). After begging China's leader Xi early in January for moar money (and getting it), China - which is already Venezuela's biggest creditor with over $50 billion loaned since 2007 - as Reuters reports, is said to plan on signing another $5bn loan to Venezuela for "wide-ranging" projects like "mature oil fields." So, it appears China is enabling Maduro to hollow out his economy even more.

 
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After Pillaging Pensions, Greece Raids Utilities To Repay Troika; Bonds Plunge As Bank Run Accelerates





The new Greek government, instead of seriously contemplating a Plan B outside of the Eurozone, was busy thinking of new ways to raid its own population just to repay the "loathed" Troika. In the latest sad indication of just how truly insolvent Greece is, Reuters also reported that days after raiding its own Pension funds to repay the IMF (which in turn lent the cash to Ukraine so it could repay Ukraine's obligations to Gazprom and thus Putin), the Syriza government is now raiding the major state utility firms to lend the government cash through short-term repo transactions as it scrambles to avoid running out of cash.

 
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Kuwait "Over-Supply" Concerns Send WTI Tumbling Back To $42 Handle





Reversing all of yesterday's FOMC-inspired idiocy, WTI has plunged back to reality this morning. Following comments by Kuwait's comments that OPEC had no choice but to keep production steady, refocusing the market on global oversupply, April WTI is back down to a $42 handle.

 
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Frontrunning: March 19





  • Fed May Not Hit Neutral Until 10th Anniversary of Lehman Collapse (BBG)... make that never
  • Global stocks and bonds roar Fed approval, dollar fights back (Reuters)
  • EU to tell Greece time, patience running out (Reuters)
  • U.S. likely to delay planned closure of two Afghanistan bases (Reuters)
  • Norway Signals Reduction After Unexpectedly Holding Rate (BBG)
  • Oil Falls to $55 as Kuwait Comments Refocus on Oversupply (Reuters)
  • Tsipras Heads to Summit as Merkel Tries to Defuse Greek Crisis (BBG)
  • Yahoo Pulls the Plug on China Operations (WSJ)
 
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Ben Bernanke Was Right: "No Rate Normalization During My Lifetime"





"At least one guest left a New York restaurant with the impression Bernanke, 60, does not expect the federal funds rate, the Fed's main benchmark interest rate, to rise back to its long-term average of around 4 percent in Bernanke's lifetime. "Shocking when he said this," the guest scribbled in his notes. "Is that really true?" he scribbled at another point, according to the notes reviewed by Reuters."

 
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Crash Landing: China Home Prices Plunge At Fastest Pace On Record, Surpass Post-Lehman Collapse





Less than three weeks ago, when the PBOC proceeded with its latest "surprise" rate cut, we showed a chart that should scare everyone who is hoping that China will avoid a hard-landing would prefer would never have been revealed: the annual collapse in Chinese home prices is now so sharp and so widespread, that it has surpassed the housing collapse in the aftermath of the Lehman collapse." Overnight things went from bad to worse, when China's National Bureau of Statistics reported that contrary to hopes for a modest rebound, China's average new home prices fell at the fastest pace on record in February from a year earlier.

 
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Sweden Slides Further Into NIRP: Cuts To -0.25%; Expands QE





Ahead of The Fed's 'impatience' today, and amid a tumbling EUR, the oldest central bank in the world has decided it is time to go further into the illustrious ranks of NIRP/QE'ers:

*RIKSBANK CUTS KEY RATE TO -0.25%, TO BUY GOVT BONDS FOR SK30 BLN

So as opposed to Denamrk's roundabout QE, Sweden just jumps in and monetizes that debt direct by expanding their QE program and shifts from small NIRP to bigger NIRP. All this while suggesting the labor market is strengthening and inflation has bottomed out. The reaction - SEK is plunging and OMX surges.

 
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Gold Price to Double to Over $2,400 Per Ounce - Demand in Asia to Double in “Asian Century”





“Most of the time you don’t want to pay for it. But if you need it, you’re glad you have it ...”

 
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Frontrunning: March 18





  • Hilsenrath: Fed to Markets: No More Promises (WSJ)
  • Fed set to ditch 'patient' rate vow as it eyes U.S., world growth (Reuters)
  • Fannie, Freddie could need another bailout (Reuters)
  • Alibaba Stock-Sale Lockup Is Ending (WSJ)
  • Netanyahu Sweeps Aside Herzog’s Challenge to Win Israel Vote (BBG)
  • Oil Bonds Lose Investors $7 Billion in 10 Days (BBG)
  • There’s a mysterious $1.1 trillion in spending cuts in the House GOP’s budget (WaPo)
  • ECB's Celebration of Its New $1.4 Billion Tower Is Spoiled by Protesters (BBG)
 
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Futures Weak Ahead Of "Impatient" Fed, Oil Slide Continues; China Stocks Go Berserk





The only news that matters to algos today is whether Janet Yellen will include the word "patient" in the FOMC statement as a hint of a June rate hike, even though the phrase "international developments" is far more important in a world in which everyone (such as the 25 or so central banks who have cut rates in the past 80 days) is now scrambling to export deflation to everyone else. And with carbon-based traders recuperating from St. Patrick's day, few will notice that the oil tumble continues as WTI touches new 6 year highs after yesterday's shocking 10MM+ API build, and is now openly eyeing a collapse into the $30s. Just as nobody will notice that even as futures in the US and European stocks are looking a little hungover ahead of the Fed and perhaps on the latest bout of anti-austerity out of Europe, the China levitation has gone full retard, with the SHCOMP up another 2.1% yesterday and now in full-blown parabolic mode as housing data confirms the Chinese housing bubble has truly burst, and as shadow bankers dump all their funds into stocks in hopes of making up for losses due to regulatory intervention.

 
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The End Is Kind Of Nigh





All Good Things Must End... this may not be the end of the world exactly. But the end of the fiat money system President Nixon gave birth to in 1971... when he cut the dollar loose from gold. And it may feel like the end of the world, because of the social chaos it will provoke.

 
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Greek PM To Meet With Putin Amid Cash Crunch





News of an upcoming meeting between Tsipras and Putin comes just days ahead of EU Summit and a €2 billion debt repayment, suggesting Athens may be playing one of its few remaining cards.

 
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Syria Shoots Down US Drone





Perhaps it is purely a coincidence that on the day in which the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (which as profiled earlier is anything but) released several new YouTube clips "confirming" a poison gas chemcial attack by the Assad army had killed 6 people in the country, that several hours later a US drone was shot down by the Syrian military according to CNN, which cites Syria's state-run news agency reported Tuesday. Then again, perhaps not.

 
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Here We Go Again: YouTube Clips Of Syrian "Chemical Attacks" Are Back - Meet The Man Behind The Propaganda





US foreign policy is becoming so easy and predictable, even Derek Zoolander can do it.

Two weeks ago, when discussing the relentless attempts to provoke, or at least greenlight another quasi war with Syria's president Assad, we wrote "one can be confident that the ISIS "campaign" will continue and get ever closer to Damascus until yet another appropriately-framed YouTube clip appears and leads to another war with Assad." Moments ago Reuters reported that "a group monitoring the Syrian civil war said on Tuesday government forces carried out a poison gas attack that killed six people in the northwest, and medics posted videos of children suffering what they said was suffocation."

 
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